Yesterday, if you skipped on the memorializing of our nation's veterans through grilling various meats, you might have parked yourself in front of your TV to catch the premiere of the Cooking Channel. The network replaced Fine Living and is brought to you by the people behind the Food Network.
So how is it? It sucks much the same way Food Network does. The channel promised a serious food channel for the serious foodie, but much of that went straight out of the window in just the first few hours. But there are a few glimmers of hope, however let's start out with the bad:
Cooking Channel = Food Network Canada
For some reason a lot of the programming came from Food Network's Canadian channel. The accents and sprinkles of ehs was off putting and sort of condescending. I couldn't help but wonder if Food Network thinks their Canadian programming is more high-brow than its American counterpart. Newsflash: It's not. If anything it taking TV host annoyance levels to new heights.
Meet Your New Rachael Ray
I've never in my life met a TV host that gets more under my skin than Rachael Ray, that was until yesterday when I was introduced Laura Calder, the most smug, "see you next Tuesday" host. According to the show's intro, she's a former corporate executive who moved to France because she is so much better than you and she makes sure to constantly reminds you of that fact when she's cooking. Worst thing of all, she won the James Beard Award for her show French Food at Home. Seriously? The James Beard Award just became a little less prestigious in my eyes.
Hipsters Don't Belong in the Kitchen
Food science is great. Alton Brown is perhaps the king of that genre, and he does it well. But Food Jammers puts three of the unfunniest, trying-so-hard-to-be-cool guys to come up with kooky things in the kitchen for our amusement. It's sort of Mythbusters meets Good Eats, but with a nasty aftertaste.
Okay enough bitching, there were some things we really did enjoy:
Mixology in the Spotlight
Mixology has always been gastronomy's afterthought. The only time usually devoted to it on TV has been with either Sandra Lee and or Guy Fieri make amateurish concoctions that look unappealing. Cooking Channel has devoted in a depth show to the art, which focuses on one spirit per episode featuring not only some yummy cocktails but actual food recipes which calls for booze. Drink Up is hosted by Darryl Robinson who seems extremely knowledgeable about the subject -- a rarity over at its sister channel.
BBC Saves the Day
A lot of the programming is borrowed from other networks (see Food Network Canada), but of the recycled contact the best comes from across the pond. Shows like Chinese Food Made Easy and Nigella Express really do add to the channel's mission of being targeted toward a more foodie audience. Maybe it's the British accents, but really it's because hosts like Nigella Lawson and Ching-He Huang are passionate about food without being condescending.
So let's recap:
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Shows to Skip:
- French Food at Home
- Food Jammers
- Everyday Exotic
- Any leftovers from Food Network and there a lot of them.
- Drink Up
- Chinese Food Made Easy
- Indian Food Made Easy
- Chuck's Day Off
- Nigella Express